(b Melbourne, Sept 24, 1937).
Australian painter and photographer. From 1954 to 1957 he studied graphic design at the Swinburne College of Technology in Melbourne, where Dale Hickey was a fellow student. The year of his entry he began to exhibit at the Contemporary Art Society in Melbourne. His early work was influenced by figurative artists such as Ben Shahn and the illustrations of Andy Warhol and also by Charles Blackman, whom he knew personally. Later he came under the influence of Francis Bacon, as shown in The Fall (1963; artist’s col., see Catalano, p. 148), which was derived from a photograph of Benito Mussolini.
From the late 1950s Rooney was interested in ‘trivia’—odds and ends he found in old books, cartoons and illustrations. These formed his ‘Spon collection’ and some of it was incorporated into the Spondee Review, a single copy journal that he produced. Greatly admiring the writings of Gertrude Stein and the music of Erik Satie, he became fascinated by the possibilities of repetition. This led to the collection of works produced in the late 1960s, including the ...